Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Partnership
("MLSE"), the parent company of the National Hockey
League's Toronto Maple Leafs, has requested an extension of
time to oppose a U.S. trade-mark application filed by one Calvin
Broadus – better known as Snoop Dogg ("Snoop")
– for a logo featuring the words LEAFS BY SNOOP on a
MLSE is the owner of numerous trade-mark applications and
registrations in Canada and the U.S. for different iterations of
the Toronto Maple Leafs logo, for use with a variety of clothing
and souvenir related goods.
For side-by-side comparison, below is Snoop's logo next to
the most recent version of the Toronto Maple Leafs logo.
Snoop's application covers the goods "cigarette
lighters not made of precious metals". Snoop also owns a
word mark application for LEAFS BY SNOOP, although that application
will not be published for opposition by the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office until July 19, 2016.
More information about Snoop's LEAFS BY SNOOP products is
available at his website dedicated to
that brand. Interestingly – and perhaps not
surprisingly – the products on the website appear to be
cannabis and food products including cannabis.
Snoop also owns a Canadian
application to register the words LEAFS BY SNOOP for a
broader category of goods, including clothing-related
products, edible oils, jams, candies, and live plants.
(Although the Canadian Intellectual Property Office
("CIPO") is usually known for being strict when it comes
to the specificity of goods listed in trade-mark applications, in
this case, it did not ask Snoop to provide further specificity as
to the "edible oils and jams", nor the "live
Snoop's Canadian application was advertised for opposition
on June 8, 2016. At this time, it is unclear whether MLSE has
opposed – or requested an extension of time to oppose –
Snoop's Canadian application.
TSN, the source that broke news of this potential
dispute, reached out to lawyers for both MLSE and Snoop, but
did not receive a response. An IP lawyer at the New York
University School of Law provided TSN with his thoughts on the
matter, generally opining that MLSE would likely face a tough road
should it proceed with its opposition in the United States.
The intersection of pop culture and trade-marks is always a
fascinating topic for us here at the Canadian Trademark Blog, and
we will be watching with interest to see if this leads to an actual
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A recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench decision allowed a court-appointed receiver to sell and transfer intellectual property rights free and clear of encumbrances, finding that a license to use improvements of an invention was a contractual interest and not a property interest.
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